5th February 2024

Published: 5th February 2024

Dundee United are delighted to announce the signing of Northern Ireland international Sam McClelland, who joins the club on loan from cinch Premiership outfit St Johnstone until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

Aged just 16 when he made the journey over the Irish Sea to join Chelsea’s famed Cobham Academy, McClelland would go on to captain the Blues’ U21s on numerous occasions throughout his five-year stint within the Stamford Bridge ranks. 

Having represented his homeland at various youth levels, the defender was rewarded with his first full cap for the senior side in June 2021, as he made a late cameo in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Ukraine.

His first taste of regular senior action came during 2022/23, spending the season on loan with English League Two side Barrow. Making 30 appearances throughout the term, McClelland was an integral part of the side which achieved Barrow’s best league finish in more than half a century. In securing ninth spot, this was a 13-place improvement on the previous year.

Upon the expiry of his Chelsea contract, the starlet made the switch to St Johnstone in the summer window, and was named in the starting XI for all seven of their opening Premiership matches. 


After arriving at Tannadice to add depth and quality to Jim Goodwin’s rearguard for the Championship run-in, our new number five commented: "When you hear of a massive club like Dundee United showing interest, your main focus just becomes about getting it over the line.

"We know what the objective is this season - to get the club back into the Premiership. That is something I was desperate to be a part of and I want to come here and be successful."


United boss Goodwin added: "We felt we were a little short in this particular area of the park so I'm pleased to secure Sam's services until the end of the season.

"He's someone with a fantastic pedigree at such a young age, having spent his youth career with Chelsea and been in and around Northern Ireland's first-team set-up. A spell with Barrow in the EFL also proved his credentials in the senior game.

"Not only does it give us cover in the backline, but I have no doubts he will greatly enhance the group overall."


Images: Richard Wiseman (Club Photographer)